This is a critical time for Tokitae: the USDA recently released a report outlining the dire conditions under which she is kept at Miami Seaquarium. Also, it was recently announced that the Dolphin Company is in the process of buying the Seaquarium. This is a time of crisis and also opportunity.
If we can show the USDA, other government agencies, and the Dolphin Company, that we have a great home for her in the Salish Sea, as well as a robust plan for her ongoing care, they may see the wisdom and beauty of saying "Yes!" to our call for her release.
Please help us secure her Salish Sea home now!
, the orca also known as Tokitae or Lolita, was violently taken from her Salish Sea family over 50 years ago and was sold to the Miami Seaquarium, where she has been performing ever since.
She, like other Southern Resident orcas, is a sacred relation of the Lhaq'temish people of Lummi Nation, in northwest Washington State. Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut is a true Salish Sea daughter, a beloved family member of both her L-pod and the Lhaq'temish people.
Orcas are tremendously intelligent, social beings who dive deep and swim for miles every day. For an orca to be isolated in a small concrete tank is a cruelty. For a child to be separated from her family is a tragedy.
Lummi tribal members have invoked their kinship, legal, and cultural claims to Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut and are calling for her to come home. The Lhaq'temish-led non-profit Sacred Sea
has spearheaded a campaign to return Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut to the Salish Sea, where she will be cared for in a custom-built netted area in her native waters.
We are working and fundraising in phases:
Phase 1: completed. We commissioned Whale Sanctuary Project
and their network of experts to draft a comprehensive plan
on how to safely and responsibly bring Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut home. The plan, which was paid for by online donations from our generous supporters, details all aspects of her return, her Salish Sea home, and her ongoing care.
Phase 2: NOW. We are fundraising to secure a site for Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut's home in the Salish Sea. We are in search of a safe, protected area in the San Juan Islands. In this phase of work, we will assess prospective sites and then secure the best available site. Leases, permits, negotiations and outreach are part of this process. We are hopeful that The Dolphin Company
(the new owners of Miami Seaquarium) and involved governmental agencies will see that there is a real, better, and immediately actionable alternative to her concrete tank.
Phase 3: 2022. Once we have secured a site, we will begin accepting pledges for putting the entire plan into action. If and when she is released from the Seaquarium, those pledges will be called in and she will come home.
We are working with and supported by a number of tribal leaders and sister tribes, international Indigenous groups, faith and environmental organizations, and individuals from around the world who have been moved by Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut's story. Our legal representation is Earth Law Center
. Our supporters have made our legal, logistical, and outreach work to date possible.
We have faith that Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut will come home, that an old wrong will be righted, that her orca family will be made whole again, and that this healing will be part of the greater healing that needs to happen between our species and our Mother Earth.
Your donation of any amount is greatly appreciated. It will take all of us, Netse Mot (of one heart and one mind), working together to bring her home. Hy'shqe (thank you) for your support!
Sacred Lands Conservancy 501c3 doing business as Sacred Sea is a Lhaq'temish-led non-profit committed to Indigenous and indigenized stewardship of the Salish Sea. Learn how we can all be in better relationship with the place we call home at www.SacredSea.org.